AMBON, Indonesia - The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Ambon July 26 to take part in Sail Banda and will stay through Aug. 3 as part of her three stop visit to Indonesia with Pacific Partnership 2010. Mercy is joined in Ambon by two Australian heavy landing craft, HMA Ships Labuan (L128) and Tarakan (L129).

“Our two recent visits in the North Maluku province were both productive and memorable, and we are really happy to be part of Sail Banda 2010,” said Mission Commander, Pacific Partnership 2010, Capt. Lisa M. Franchetti. “Our ongoing collaborative efforts with Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), partner nations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have been effective and in the spirit of true partnership, and we look forward to continuing to work together here in Ambon.”

Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet endeavors conducted in Indonesia as a disaster relief exercise aimed at strengthening regional partnerships between the U.S., partner and host nations, and international humanitarian and relief organizations, as well as building capability to respond to a natural disaster. During her visit to Ambon, Mercy will provide surgery, as well as conduct primary medical/dental health care clinics in various different locations throughout Ambon and its surrounding communities, as well as on Seram Island.

Pacific Partnership 2010 participants for Indonesia include medical and engineering professionals from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. military. In addition, volunteers from the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) HOPE worldwide; Latter-day Saint Charities; Project HOPE; University of California, San Diego Pre-Dental Society; Vets Without Borders; and World Vets are aboard Mercy and are integral members to the team which will participate in a disaster relief training exercise in coordination with local officials, TNI, and the Republic of Singapore Navy.

The Government of Indonesia, a nation comprised of more than 17,000 islands, is promoting the future of their smaller islands through a series of events known as Sail Banda 2010. Focusing on ecology, conservation and environmental awareness, Sail Banda 2010 hopes to duplicate the success of Bunaken Sail 2009 by bringing together numerous nations to strengthen relationships and build cooperation and mutual understanding. Events include seminars, cultural attractions, product expositions, and civic missions that will run from July 12 to Aug. 15. Mercy’s participation features medical and dental care clinics and construction projects in and around Ambon, as well as on Seram Island.

Pacific Partnership 2010’s three stop visit in Indonesia coincides with this also being Mercy’s third visit to Indonesia. Following the December 2004 tsunami that struck Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean basin, Mercy was deployed to support the international relief efforts. In 2006, Mercy once more deployed to Indonesia as part of a five-month deployment that included medical relief programs in Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, and the Philippines.

Mercy has completed the first two Pacific Partnership 2010 mission visits to Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as other stops in Tobelo and Morotai in the North Maluku province of Indonesia. Ambon is the final leg of the Indonesian exercise.